Before embarking on the discussion of the issue of writing of hadith, it is advisable to give a brief account on the history of collecting and compiling the Qur'an, so as to show how the Prophet and the Companions after him, cared for writing this great Book. Also they were so keen in being accurate in collecting and preserving the Qur'an, till reaching the extent of perfection and making it appear to people with the most truthful form ever attained by any book throughout history. Thus it was worth the epithet of correct tawatur, in which no man dares to doubt, nor two men may differ, with all Muslims, East and West with their different creeds, receiving it with trust and full certainty, with no even one exception.
Had the Prophet (S) cared for writing of hadith as he cared for writing of the Qur'an, and after him the Companions, all his traditions would have been cited mutawatir in words and meaning, having nothing called sahih or hasan, or da`if (weak) or any other names invented by them that were unknown during the days of the Prophet and his Companions. Thus any disagreement regarding genuinity of hadith would be eliminated, with relieving the ulama of the burden of investigating its veracity, and compiling many works that were classified on hadith sciences and discussion of conditions of the narrators, in respect of justice, exactitude, sarcasm (jarh) and modification (ta’dil) and other than this.
The fuqaha’ of religion used to follow one course with no little difference among them regarding its origin, except in apprehension and realization, as all of their evidences would be consecutive (mutawatir), like in the case of the holy Qur'an. So they would never adopt what was called the overwhelming conjecture, that created much disagreement and caused the Ummah to scatter into sects and communities, the fact that is still observed nowadays and will continue to be in future. Then the traditions used to be among the most important references for the grammarians, linguists and rhetoricians.
As soon as any (Qur'anic) verse was revealed upon the Prophet, he would give orders to his scribes to write it down at the moment of uttering it. He was so keen to convey it to people exactly in the way it was revealed to him, to the extent that he used to move his tongue repeating the words he was receiving from the wahy, so as not to miss anything of it. Al-Bukhari and others narrated from Ibn Abbas, in his interpretation of the holy verse:
لَا تُحَرِّكْ بِهِ لِسَانَكَ لِتَعْجَلَ بِهِ
that he said: The Messenger of Allah used to tackle whatever was hard among revelation, moving his tongue and lips with it lest he should miss it, and for keeping it in memory, as a result of which God revealed the verse:
لَا تُحَرِّكْ بِهِ لِسَانَكَ لِتَعْجَلَ بِهِ إِنَّ عَلَيْنَا جَمْعَهُ وَقُرْآنَهُ
"(O Our Apostle Muhammad!) Move not thy tongue with it (the Qur'an) in haste! Verily, on Us is the collection of it and the recital of it!" (75:16-17)
Then He (Allah) says to him (tacitly): on Us is the collection of it in your chest, then We recite it, so when we have recited it, (revealed it upon you)," then follow thou the recital!" i.e. listen and heed to it... "Again it is on Us the explaining of it!" i.e. exposing it through your tongue... etc.
The Prophet used to urge his Companions to memorize the Qur'an with its exact words, with keeping on reciting it day and night, during salat (prayer) and any other time. Thus there had been numerous reciters (memorizers), some of whom used to write down whatever revealed "either with initiative from their own selves or an order issued by the Prophet." Among them too were some who memorized some portion of it, and some most of it, beside some — who were few in number — who learnt by heart all of it completely.
The well-known of the wahy scribes — as stated — were the four caliphs, and Sa’id ibn al-As and others. It is said also that the most famous among them and most prolific in writing was Zayd ibn Thabit, though the first one who wrote for the Prophet in Makkah, from Quraysh, was Abd Allah bn Sa'd ibn Abi Sarah, who apostatized after conversion to Islam and was reconverted on the day of the conquest of Makkah. And the first who wrote in al-Madinah was Ubayy ibn Ka'b and Zayd ibn Thabit.1
In al-Mawahib al-fathiyyah2, it is stated:
Al-Zubayr ibn al-Awwam and Jaham ibn al-Salt were charged with writing the estates collected through sadaqah (alms), while Hudayfah used to write the produce of date-palms, with al-Mughirah ibn Shu'bah and al-Husayn ibn Numayr being charged with writing the credit deals and transactions.
With the demise of the Messenger of Allah the Qur'an was not collected or compiled yet, as it was kept memorized and learnt by hearts. When Abu Bakr assumed caliphate, and on eruption of setback (riddah) wars that took lives of a large number of Companions, Umar was afraid that much of the Qur’an would be lost with the death of the Companions.
Once upon a day he entered upon Abu Bakr saying to him: The Battle of Yamamah is taking the lives of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah as fire devouring the butterflies, and I am afraid that such bloody encounters should recur, many of the Qur'an memorizers3 would be killed and the Qur'an would be lost and buried in oblivion. Would it be better that you order the Qur'an to be collected and written? But Abu Bakr abstained from this.
Thereafter, Abu Bakr summoned Zayd ibn Thabit and said to him: Umar asked me to do something of which I abstained, and you are the scribe of wahy if you can fulfil his order I would follow you both. But Zayd also did not do so saying: How do we do a thing which the messenger of Allah didn't? Umar said (to both of them): No blame would befall you when you do this. Zayd says: He kept on pressing me, until God opened my heart to do that to which He had opened those of Abu Bakr and Umar. Then I sought for the Qur'an, and collected it from pieces of palm branches,4 white stones (likhaf), scapulae, pieces of leather and inside hearts of men5.
Abu Bakr distinguished Zayd with this task as he was one of the scribes of the wahy and memorizers of the Qur'an. So he collected the scattered pieces of the Qur'an, written in codices (suhuf) making it in one mushaf.
When it was unanimously agreed on collecting and writing of the Qur'an, Umar addressed the people saying: Whosoever has acquired any part of the Qur'an from the Prophet should bring it. Abu Bakr told Umar and Zayd: Sit at the door of the mosque and write down the verses of the Qur'an from anyone who brings two witnesses (to testify it). It is known that Umar was never accepting from anyone any hadith reported from the Messenger of Allah, unless when bringing two witnesses testifying they have acquired it from the Prophet (directly). Then Bilal was charged with announcing all over Madinah that whosoever had acquired any part of the Qur'an should bring it to the mosque and hand it to the scribes.
Abu Shamah says: It is likely that the witnesses were called to testify that whatever was brought had been presented at the last presentation before the Prophet (S) in the year of his demise and was written in front of him (S). Hence Zayd ibn Thabit said at the last part of the Surat al-Tawbah that he could not find it with anybody else (other than Abu Khuzaymah), i.e. I did not find it written with other than him, as he was never satisfied with what was memorized alone other than what was written.
Ibn Wahb reported in his Muwatta’ from Malik, on the authority of Ibn Shihab, from Salim ibn Abd Allah ibn Umar that he said: Abu Bakr has collected and compiled the Qur'an in masahif. Thus he was the first to collect the Qur'an in suhuf (codices), and this was the first collecting.
The aforementioned was only an abstract of what is said briefly about the subject of writing of the Qur'an. I haven't gone into details in regard of this critical matter, on which multifarious narrations, were cited, and the words of the narrators differed, since that being not of our concern and out of the scope of this book.
Whoever desires to be acquainted with whatever said about this issue, can refer to al-Suyuti's book al-Itqan, and al-Jaza’iri’s al-Tibyan, and the first volume of al-Bayan fi tafsir al-Qur’an of al-Allamah the great researcher al-Sayyid Abu al-Qasim al-Musawi al-Khu'i.
This book is sufficient in manifesting this matter as its author has exerted much effort in studying it, and elaborated in its discussion in a way that the like of which can never be found in any other book. So it can be said that it is incumbent upon any Muslim to read it so as to gain more knowledge and information.
The strangest and embarrassing point is that they have never even included the name of Ali within those encharged with collecting and writing down the Qur'an, neither during the reign of Abu Bakr nor that of Uthman, mentioning instead the names of those lower than him in degree of knowledge and fiqh! Was Ali unable of undertaking such a task? Or was he among those untrustworthy men? Or among those who were incompetent to be consulted or committed to shoulder this responsibility?
While in fact reason and logic necessitate that Ali should be the foremost and most competent man entrusted with this job, due to possessing attributes and merits of which all other Companions were deprived. He was reared and grown up under the care of the Prophet (S), living long under his protection, attending the wahy from the first days of revelation up to the day of cessation, in a way that he did not miss even one of his verses!
So if he was not to be called for such a critical task, what thing else would he be called for?
And if they invented justifications for ignoring him (Imam Ali) in regard of the caliphate of Abu Bakr, never consulting him or seeking his opinion about it, what excuse they can give for not inviting him to the task of writing the Qur'an? Is there any logical reason for this behaviour? What judgement can be issued by any just judge? What a surprising matter it is, and we have nothing to say but: May God help you O Ali! They have never treated you with equity in anything!
Those codices (suhuf) written during the reign of Abu Bakr were kept with him till when he expired, and after him were preserved by Umar throughout the years of his caliphate. Before his death he handed them to his daughter Hafsah, who kept them with her till the time when required by Uthman in order to review with them the mushaf written during his reign.
When Umar was on the point of dying and before assuming caliphate by Uthman, the conditions of Muslims started to change utterly and they differed even in the reading of the Qur'an.
In al-Masahif, Ibn Abi Dawud reported on the authority of Abu Qullabah that he said:
During his caliphate, Uthman gathered some individuals instructing that who had command over the Qur'an to teach others the correct way of reading it. Then there were meetings among the youths in which they differed in reciting the Qur'an, after which the teachers quarrelled over them accusing each other with kufr. When Uthman become aware of this situation, he gathered the memorizers and qurra’, addressing them saying: I heard that you disagree and differ (regarding the reading of the Quran)... whoever is farther from me his difference is stronger.
Al-Bukhari has narrated that Anas ibn Malik told him that Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman came to Uthman, when he was fighting along with the people of Iraq against the Syrians for the conquest of Armenia and Azarbaijan. Hudhayfah was frightened at the differences in the people's reciting of the Qur'an. He said to Uthman: O Amir al-Muminin, rise to the rescue of this Ummah before they fall into disagreement about the Scripture like the Jews and Christians.
Among the words of Hudhayfah, were the following:
I found people of Hams claiming their reading to be better than that of others and that they learnt reading of the Qur'an from al-Miqdad. I found also people of Damascus claiming theirs to be better and to be the reading of Ubayy ibn Ka'b. Further, the people of Kufah alleged the same saying that they learnt that reading at the hands of Abu Musa, calling his mushaf "Lubab al-qulub".
In another narration by Ammarah ibn Ghazyah reported by Ibn Hajar in al-Fath (vol. IX, p. 14), he said that when Hudhayfah returned from a battle, he came to Uthman, directly, before going home, saying to him: O Amir al-Mu`minin, rise to the rescue of the people! He said: What is the matter? He replied: I participated in the fighting in Armenia where I saw the Syrians reading the Qur'an the way adopted by Ubayy ibn Ka'b, citing words that were never heard by people of Iraq... while finding people of Iraq adopting the reading of Abd Allah ibn Mas'ud, citing words never heard by the Syrians. Then each party would charge the other with disbelief.
When Uthman became aware of this, finding the situation reaching that critical stage, he sent someone to Hafsah,6 daughter of Umar, asking her to send the suhuf that were with her, to be copied in the masahif and returned to her later on. Hafsah sent them to Uthman who ordered Zayd ibn Thabit, Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr, Sa'id ibn al-`As and Abd al-Rahman ibn al-Harith ibn Hisham to make several codices. Uthman instructed the three Qurashis that in case of any difference between Zayd ibn Thabit and themselves they should write it in the dialect of the Quraysh, since the Qur'an had come down in their dialect, and so they did. After copying the suhuf in the masahif, Uthman returned the original suhuf to Hafsah, sending to every metropolis one copy of those copied before, giving his orders to burning every other sahifah or mushaf. Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar says that all this happened in the end of the year 24 H. and beginning of the year 25 H.
Ibn al-Tin and others said: The collecting of Abu Bakr differed from that of Uthman in the reason for collecting, as Abu Bakr was afraid lest some part of the Quran should be lost with the death of its memorizers, since it was not collected in one book. So he collected and compiled it in codices arranging the verses of every surah according to their order of revelation as presented at the last presentation before the Prophet (S).
While Uthman gave his orders to collect the Qur'an when observing the much difference in the ways of reading, that every group were reading with their dialect, the practice causing much dispute among several parties. So being frightened at the exacerbation of the situation, Uthman copied these suhuf in one mushaf, with its surahs being in order, choosing the dialect of Quraysh arguing that the Qur'an had come down in their dialect. For making it easy and relieving people of any trouble (haraj), he allowed reading the Qur'an with other dialects in the first stages, but when coming to know that there was no need any more for this, he determined to have it written with one dialect.
There was disagreement regarding the number of the masahif written with the order of Uthman, but they were widely-known to be five, four of which were sent to the metropolises and the other one he kept for himself.
That was a brief abstract of the information I gathered in this article, which I found necessary to cite. May Allah help us to find opportune time to publish the lengthy research which I prepared for a separate full book, about this significant subject, so as to be benefited by Muslims in particular, and all those concerned with Islamic themes in general.
I see it necessary here to make a short pause for making known the perplexity afflicting me while citing the reports about this collecting (of the Qur'an) and that much of contradiction they imply. One report says that it was Umar who resorted to Abu Bakr for collecting the Qur'an, and another one claims that: this collecting wasn't made during the reign of Abu Bakr at all, but it was Umar who had undertaken it. A third report indicates that Umar was killed before completing the task of collecting the Qur'an, and that it was Uthman who completed the work. There are many other narrations containing such contradiction and incompatibility, the citing of which is out of scope here.
We have to consider the widely-known reports cited by al-Bukhari, that Umar betook himself to Abu Bakr bringing to his attention the need to collect and compile the Qur'an, after observing that the Battle of Yamamah played much havoc with the qurra’, taking the lives of hundreds of companions who were the Qur'an-bearers (memorizers), and if such bloody encounters should recur, much of the Qur'an would be lost! Should we take all these reports into consideration, it would become clear for us that the Qur'an was preserved only through memorization in the hearts of the Companions in the first era of Islam, meaning that with their death or murder the Qur'an would be lost and forgotten. We come to know also that there was no any source for preserving the Qur'an throughout all ages other than them as they were its material and scribes!
Whereas there were authentic and reasonable reports, indicating that the Prophet (S) used to write down whatever revealed to him of the Qur'an on palm branches, white stones and sheets of tanned sheepskin, and other things, appointing for this task several scribes whose names are recorded in history books, so what happened to that codex in which no one can ever doubt, or dispute in its regard? In fact through this copy Allah has safeguarded the holy Qur'an (against any alteration), as He said in the verse:
إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ
And also in the verse:
إِنَّ عَلَيْنَا جَمْعَهُ وَقُرْآنَهُ
"Verily, on Us is the collection of it and the recital of it." (75:17)
Had this unique copy, holding the veracious everlasting version of the Qur'an, been available (at that time), it would have sufficed them, rendering them in no need of all that toil they exerted for executing their task (collecting the Qur'an). Further, it would have become the main reference for the Qur'an, throughout every age and time, on the basis of which Uthman could have reviewed the codices (masahif) that he had written, before distributing them through the towns.
If they — as claimed by them — have managed in the work of investigation in regard of writing of the Qur'an, and safeguarding it so as no one can dare to dispute or harbour any doubt regarding it, many things were raised about this critical issue, which they called problems. I find myself obliged to cast light on some of these problems so as not to blame for ignoring a part of what should the readers of my book know about riwayah and the troubles it caused for hadith, which is relevant to the theme of my book "in every place there is a trace of Tha'labah."!
In his book al-Tibyan,7 while discussing the necessity of the tawatur of the Qur’an and the ambiguities it encountered on this way, al-Allamah Tahir al-Jaza'iri writes.
There are several ambiguities raised against the very necessity of the tawatur of the Qur'an, we state herewith with their answers:
It is reported that Ibn Mas'ud used to deny presence of Surat al-Fatihah and al-Mu’awwidhatan in the Qur'an, and that is why a large number of `ulama disapproved the veracity of reporting from him. Al-Nawawi, in Sharh al-Muhadhdhab, said: All Muslims concur that the Mu'awwidhatan and al-Fatihah being among the Qur'anic chapters (surahs), and whoever denying even part of them is a disbeliever, besides whatever is reported from Ibn Mas'ud being false and incorrect. In his book al-Qadh al-mu’alla tatmim al-muhalla, Ibn Hazm writes: This is a lie fabricated against Ibn Mas'ud, but what can be correctly reported from him being the reading of `Asim from Zar'ah, containing the Mu’awwidhatan and (Surat) al-Fatihah.
Ibn Hajar, in Sharh al-Bukhari says: Not writing these surahs by Ibn Mas'ud was known by all, so Ahmad and Ibn Hibban reported about him that he would never write the Mu’awwidhatan in his mushaf. And after citing all the narrations indicating that Ibn Mas'ud used to erase the Mu’awwidhatan from the copies of his mushaf, Ibn Hajar said: So, the claim of those saying it was falsified against him is rejected, and vilifying the sahih traditions without presenting any document can never be accepted!
In Mushkil al-Qur’an Ibn Qutaybah writes: Ibn Mas'ud used to conjecture that the Mu’awwidhatan were never part of the Qur'an, since he saw the Prophet pronouncing them to seek God's protection for al-Hasan and al-Husayn, the fact upon which he based his conjecture. We never say that he was right in this and mistaken were the Muhajirun and Ansar. In regard of dropping them from his mushaf, it was not out of his surmise that they never belong to the Qur'an, I seek God's protection, but he was of the opinion that the writing and collecting of the Qur'an between the two covers, had been because of fearing from suspicion and oblivion, and addition and omission, thinking this to be found in Surat al-Hamd, due to its shortness and necessity of its being learnt by all.
That which raises doubt about what is reported from Ibn Mas'ud, being his reporting that Ubayy ibn Ka'b has written in his mushaf two surahs called Surat al-Khal’ and Surat al-Hafd, which he used to recite in his qunut (in prayers) as follows:
اللهم انانستعينک و نستغفرک و نثني عليک الخير و لا تکفرک . و تخلع و نترک من يفجرک.
اللهم اياک نعبد و لک تصلي و نسجد. و اليک نسعي و تحفد. تخشي عقابک و نرجو رحمتک . ان عذابک بالکفار ملحق.
To this a reference was made by al-Qadi in al-Intisar, when he said: The words of qunut reported to be recorded by Ubayy ibn Ka'b in his mushaf, could never be proved to be revealed Qur'anic verses but they were only some mode of supplication... as had they been of the Qur'an they would have been reported in the same way as a Qur'an whose veracity was established for all.
Also they might have contained some of the Qur'anic words that were abrogated afterwards but permitted to be used as supplication with being mixed then with non-Qur'anic words. All this was never confirmed to be narrated by him, but it was reported to be recorded in his mushaf. He is known to have recorded in his mushaf other than the Qur'an such as supplication and interpretation (ta’wil).
Zayd ibn Thabit, when referring to the hadith on collecting the Qur'an in a mushaf which was the first collecting during the reign of Abu Bakr, is reported to have said: Then I sought for the Qur'an, and collected it from pieces of palm branches, scapulae, white stones and the breasts of men, till I found the last part of the Surat al-Tawbah with Abu Khuzaymah al-Ansari and with no other person, from: "Indeed hath come unto you an apostle from among your selves; grievous to him is your falling into distress, (he is) solicitous regarding your welfare..." till the end of the surah.
He is also reported to have said: While preparing the codices of the Qur'an, one verse of the Surat al-Ahzab, which I had heard from the Messenger of Allah (S), could not be found. When searched, we found it with Khuzaymah ibn Thabit al-Ansari whose testimony was considered by the Prophet to be equivalent to that of two men: "Of the believers are the men who are true to what they covenanted with God; that was during the second collecting, which was in the time of Uthman.
There was disagreement among the theologians regarding this, some of whom said: This khabar (report), though being recorded in both the Sahihs, is incorrect, due to its necessitating that the above-mentioned three verses had been recorded through other than means of tawatur, which being incompatible with what the said evidence requiring. Some others said: Nothing is there in this khabar requiring establishment of the mentioned verses through other than tawatur, as Zayd might have intended through his saying: I haven't found with other than so and so; I haven't found them written with anybody else, which never necessitates that he had not found them preserved with anybody else.
Some others said: The aforementioned evidence verily necessitates the Qur'an’s being conveyed in a way indicating knowledge, which can be through other than means of tawatur, as is known that knowledge indicating signs might be implied in the akhbar al-ahad, which are accompanied with evidences necessitating this fact. Hence, we never regard it as improbable the Qur'an being conveyed to us in this way, as in the case of the three mentioned verses, since acquiring knowledge at any cost is the quest, which was attained through this means.
This utterance is highly eloquent and firm, with no room for being disputed or refuted by anyone going to excess or exaggerating in this respect.
Al-Bukhari reported from Qatadah as saying: I asked Anas ibn Malik as to who collected the Qur'an during the days of the Messenger of Allah (S)? He said: They were four individuals, and all of them belonged to the Ansar (Helpers): Ubayy ibn Ka'b, Mu`adh ibn Jabal, Zayd ibn Thabit and Abu Zayd. I said: Who is that Abu Zayd? He replied: One of my uncles. Through another authentic chain he reported that Anas said: The Prophet (S) passed away and none collected the Qur'an except four individuals: Abu al-Darda', Mu'adh ibn Jabal, Zayd ibn Thabit and Abu Zayd.
This hadith contradicts that one reported through Qatadah in two aspects: Using the form (sighah) of restriction in four individuals, and bringing the name of Abu al-Darda' instead of Ubayy ibn Ka'b. Some of the leaders (imams) have disapproved of limiting the number in four. Al-Mazari said: It is not concluded from the utterance of Anas 'other than those four hadn't collected the Qur'an' that it was true so, as it should be held that he was unaware of other than those persons to have collected it. Otherwise, how was it possible to have full knowledge of all the names with the multiplicity of the Sahabah and their dispersion here and there, unless in case he had met each one of them separately and he informing him that he had not completed the collecting of the Qur'an in the Prophet's lifetime. That was usually a far-reaching aim, and had the reference been made to what is within his knowledge, the truth would not have necessarily been so.
Al-Nasa'i, through a sahih chain, reported that Abd Allah ibn 'Amr said: I have collected the Qur’an and used to read it wholly every night.8 When this news reached the Prophet (S), he said to him: Read it through a month (the hadith).
Ibn Abi Dawud, through a hasan chain, reported that Muhammad ibn Ka'b al-Qurazi had said: the Qur'an was collected during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah (S) by five individuals, all belonged to the Ansar: Mu'adh ibn Jabal, Ubadah ibn al-Samit, Ubayy ibn Ka'b, Abu al-Darda' and Abu Ayyub al-Ansari.
Al-Isma`ili had objected against the reporting of both the traditions of Anas together in the Sahih despite their incongruity, saying: These two hadiths differ from each other, and no room is there that they both appear in al-Sahih despite their incongruity, rather only one of them is sahih. Al-Bayhaqi said with certainty that mention of Abu al-Darda' was a fancy, and Ubayy ibn Ka`b was right. Al-Dawudi says: I never believe the mention of Abu al-Darda` to be authentic, and the former narration is correct.
And regarding the latter one, it seems that some of the narrators have narrated it on the basis of meaning, adding to it the limitation, out of his fancying it to be the sought object, overlooking the mention of the names, substituting the name of Ubayy ibn Ka'b with that of Abu al-Darda'! Whoever ponders deliberately upon this riwayah through meaning would verily have this impression. That was the end of the statement we quoted from the book al-Tibyan.
The detrimental effects of riwayah did not stop at this extent but exceeded the bounds to a more perilous stage, when claiming that there was deletion and lahn (solecism), and other things reported in the Sunnah's books. Should I intend to cite all the examples the discussion would be too long, but I suffice with citing only two examples of their utterances regarding the presence of naqs (omission) in the Qur'an. These examples are not taken from common books of the Sunnah, but they are recorded in the two Sahihs, and reported by the two Shaykhs: al-Bukhari and Muslim.
It is reported by al-Bukhari and others that Umar ibn al-Khattab said, from over the minbar (pulpit): Allah has verily delegated Muhammad a prophet with truth, sending down upon him the Book, in which ayat al-rajm (verse of stoning) was revealed. We read, comprehended and received it into our minds. The Messenger of Allah stoned and so did we after him. I am afraid that if time extends longer someone would say: we never find ayat al-rajm in the Book of Allah, as a result of which he may go astray through abandoning an obligation (faridah) prescribed by Allah. And rajm is a determined punishment in the Book of Allah against whoever perpetrating adultery from among married men and women. We used to recite in our reading of the Book of Allah:
(الا ترغبوا عن آبائکم فانه کفر بکم ان ترغبوا عن آبائکم).
Muslim reported on the authority of Abu al-Aswad, from his father, as saying: Abu Musa al-Ash'ari sent for the qurra’ of Basrah. Three hundred qurra` of the Qur'an came to him. He told them: "You are the elect of the people of Basrah." He asked them to recite, which they did. (He told them): Do not remain long without reciting the Qur'an, lest your hearts, like those who went before you, should harden. Indeed, we used to recite a surah similar in length and power to the Surat al-Bara’ah, which I forgot except for a single verse:
(لوکان لابن آدم و اديان من مال لابتغي و اديا ثالثا و لا يملا جوف ابن آدم الا التراب).
(Had son of Adam owned two valleys of wealth he would have asked for a third one. And nothing can fill the belly of the son of Adam except the earth (turab). We would also read a surah like one of the al-Musabbihat, which I forgot all except this:
(يا ايها الذين آمنو الم تقولون ما لا تفعلون * فتکتب شهادة في اعناقکم فتُسالون عنها يوم القيامة).
(O you who believe, why do you utter that which you never do, and then it would be recorded as a witness against you, for which you will be answerable on the Day of Resurrection).
I suffice with whatever is already cited, which is enough for manifesting the damages caused by the riwayah to even the Muslims' first book, the holy Qur’an! We know not how would this riwayah dare to express that there being deletion (naqs) in the Qur'an, or other defects despite Allah's determined words:
إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ
"Verily We have sent down the Reminder (the Qur'an), and verily We (Ourself) unto it will certainly be the Guardian". (15: 9)
So in which of them should we believe?
O God, this is verily an amazing and perplexing thing upon which men endowed with wisdom should ponder and meditate.
- 1. Between the revelation of first verses and last verses of the Qur'an were 20, or 23, or 25 years, based on difference in period of his (S) residence in Makhah after the bi'thah (mission), which is said to be ten, or thirteen or fifteen years. But there was no disagreement in regard of period of his settlement in al-Madinah to be ten years. The Qur'an was revealed according to necessity, in five and ten verses, or less or more. And the revelation of "other than those who have a (disabling) hurt" was confirmed alone, which is a part of a verse (al-Tibyan of al-Jaza'iri).
- 2. See vol. II, p. 85.
- 3. What is worth attention and good care, the fact that Umar when stood in awe of rushing of the Sahabah like flying into the flame, and resorted to Abu Bakr to make him accelerate in collecting and writing the Qur'an, he never named them as bearers of hadith but called them bearers of the Qur'an. He also never asked them to collect and write the hadith, but he mustered all his resolution to collecting and inscribing the Qur'an alone.
Not only this, but when doing this, we have never seen any of them suggest collecting and writing the hadith but only the Qur'an, the fact indicating the strongest evidences and most truthful proofs, that they were not concerned in writing of the hadith, nor to have a preserved book on it, staying for ever like the Qur'an.
- 4. Al-Usub, is plural of 'asib, meaning palm-leaf stalks, of which they used to skim the fronds and write on the wide side. Al-Lakhaf is plural of lakhfah, meaning plates of stones. These were the materials on which they used to write the Qur'an on its revelation.
- 5. Refer to hadith of Zayd ibn Thabit, that was reported by al-Bukhari in this regard.
- 6. Umar has appointed his daughter Hafsah as an executor over his endowments and legacy, as he was not trusting his son Abd Allah. Al-Suyuti, in his book Ta'rikh al-Khulafa' (p. 98) said: Al-Nakha'i reported that some man said to Umar: Aren't you going to make Abd Allah your successor? He (Umar) said: May God curse you! By God, you never intended to please God by this. Do you want me to appoint as my successor a man who knows not how to divorce his wife? It is reported that he (Umar) said: Had Salim mawla of Hudhayfah been alive, I would have made him my successor (Siyar a'alm al-nubala', vol. I, p. 123).
In regard of the divorce referred to by Umar, it is reported by al-Bukhari, from Nafi', from Abd Allah ibn Umar that he divorced his wife when she was menstruant, during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah, when he (S) said: Order him to revoke it and retain her till she is cleansed, and menstruates again and purifies herself. After that he can retain her if he wills, or he can divorce her before touching her. This be the waiting period (iddah) to which Allah commanded us to follow when divorcing the women (Fath al-Bari, vol. IX, p. 288).
Ibn Daqiq al-'Id reported that the Prophet (S) was enraged at this act done by Ibn Umar.
- 7. Al-Tibyan, pp. 96-101, which was the revised and rectified form of al-Itqan of al-Suyuti.
- 8. Is that possible? This report is suspected.